As the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival’s first weekend wrapped up in Indio, around 40,000 campers who slept off the festivities overnight departed the Coachella Valley Monday, clogging freeway lanes heading out of the desert.
Traffic along westbound Interstate 10 was moving sluggishly, and as of 10 a.m., traffic congestion stretched from Jefferson Street in Indio to Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert.
The California Highway Patrol reported that vehicles were moving at around 10 to 15 miles per hour through the desert, but that traffic was dissipating in the Banning Pass area, where motorists were able to speed up to around 55 mph.
A major multi-vehicle crash that seriously injured four people shut down an eastbound stretch of Interstate 10 near Desert Hot Springs just after 5 a.m.. However, no such wrecks had been reported through Monday morning heading west, where the bulk of Coachella attendees were traveling.
Caltrans advised commuters to travel early in the morning or late in the evening, if possible, to avoid the worst of the congestion.
Drivers who avoided the morning traffic were also advised to prepare for possible windy conditions Monday afternoon in the Coachella Valley, with areas of blowing sand and dust forecast by the National Weather Service. A high wind warning issued this morning warned of winds around 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph.
The strongest winds were expected to be concentrated north and east of Interstate 10, and mostly occurring in the afternoon and evening. The warning is set to expire at 5 a.m. Tuesday, with winds expected to weaken beginning late Monday evening into early Tuesday.
Motorists may consult quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ to monitor up-to-the-minute traffic conditions.
The festival starts up again Friday at the Empire Polo Grounds. Beyonce, Eminem and the Weeknd are headlining, with more than 150 acts also slated to perform across seven stages.